Sunday, August 5, 2007

Cheerleading for Men

The University of Oregon recently announced that it was going to expand its athletic offerings to include baseball for men and varsity cheerleading for what the university called "women." Federal law requires that such offerings be balanced so that men and women have similar opportunities.

A friend who has observed this situation closely commented to me last week that the university's decision is appalling because cheerleading is a bogus "sport which will prepare young women for lucrative jobs in the adult entertainment industry. A 'sport' which not one of the men I know who have teenage or pre-teenage daughters would allow their daughters to participate in."

In fact, cheerleading is quasi-sexual entertainment for men who think of the participants as "girls." It has nothing to do with women in the same sense that other varsity sports do. This is an almost-humorous fumble for the new athletic director, Pat Kilkenny. I think Kilkenny was a good choice for this job. He gets two strikes before his head is in any jeopardy. This is strike one.

There is a solution. Make varsity cheerleading a men's sport and replace the proposed addition of men's baseball with a genuine women's sport. That would show a true commitment to equality before the law.

We're waiting, Pat.

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